Another winner from Meljean Brook. If you haven’t read any of her Iron Seas books, this is a great place to jump in, since it works as a complete standalone. Of course, it shares the world of the books before it, but Brook lays it out simply and effectively enough that you won’t feel lost at all.
Our heroine, Annika, grew up in a secret Iceland village that consisted entirely of women. She never would have left if her sister Kalla had not taken an exile meant for her. She’s been searching for Kalla for the past five years, working aboard an airship to gain access to foreign shores. The plan is to find her sister, then head straight back home. She never dreams she will come across anyone or anything that could make her want anything else. Then she meets David.
David recognizes something familiar in Annika the first time he sees her. She shares the unusual accent his mother had. As he travels on the ship where she works, he gets to know her better and comes to realize Annika knows the secrets of his mother’s birthplace, somewhere he has been trying to find for the past 20 years, so can honor a promise he made to his mother when she died. The thing is, the more time he spends with Annika, the more he is drawn to her for other reasons… and she to him. But it’s a while before either believes there can be anything between them.
There is a lot going on here: exploding volcanoes, a crazy sociopath, giant ship-eating whales and a plan to fly to the moon. All of that is cool and it keeps the plot moving along pretty quickly. But David and Annika are the heart of the story. I loved David. He lost both legs, a hand, and an eye in a tragic accident as a child. Now, he has steel prosthetics that few people can see beyond. He feels like no woman will ever want him. So every single touch, kiss, or sign of affection he gets from Annika affects him profoundly. Couple that with the fact she has never been with a man and their interactions are filled with wonder and sexual tension and… fire. They’re so hot, even when they don’t go all the way.
And that’s just the physical side. The emotional side is fantastic too. Each of them is so vulnerable and knows so little about what it is to love and be loved in return. I reveled in watching them find their way slowly… until they get to a point they would kill or die for each other. Amazing.
I might have felt a “message” kind of hanging in the horizon with the acceptance theme going on with Annika’s village. And I might have liked a bit more oomph on the villain resolution. But, all in all, it was a great book. I loved The Kraken King more, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this one as well.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Meljean Brook
Release Date: September 4, 2012